When Early Education in Bahasa Malaysia is a Problem

A child receiving an education in Bahasa Malaysia but cannot read. How to handle this problem?

I am not talking about learning disabilities, I am talking about normal children who cannot read unless they get extra help. This may sound baffling as Bahasa Malaysia is a language that can be phonetically


Yet, this is a fact as I myself keep meeting such children.

When Education in Bahasa Malaysia=a Problem, Try Phonics!

I designed these materials for children between 5-8 years old .This is how I do it: First, introduce the vowels a,o,e,i,u. Don't overwhelm the child by introducing all at one go. Pick one vowel, for instance "A", tell him it is the letter "A" and pronounce it. When the child has learnt to pronounce his first vowel, move on to the next one.

Then, introduce the consonants. This is how I group them:

1.B and P

Mom and sweet patato

2.C and J


3.D and T

4.G and K

and teeth,gigi

5.L and R

jerit, scream

6.M and N

nuri, parrot

7.F and H


8.S and Z


9.V,W and Y





patient,pesakit,dentist,doktor gigi

Except for F and H, I put consonants of similar sounds in the same group. Thus, the child learns the subtle differences of let's say, B and P from the outset. Usually, I follow the sequence listed above.

Next, combine a consonant and a vowel. In my case, I find it easier to start with syllables consisting of only 2 letters (B+A)then advance to 3(B+A+N) and 4 (B+A+NG). .

Finally, I blend vowels followed by simple sentences. After the child has learnt well, add a new consonant.

There are many books in the market that teach children Suku Kata. However I created my own material because:

I grade the materials very carefully to ensure that the child builds on only what he knows for every lesson.

LOTS of emphasis on "Ng" and "Ny" for non-native speakers. Why? "Ng" and "Ny" are difficult for weak learners, this has to be acknowledged and tackled.

I like to add an element of FUN in my sentences to make the child eager to read and find out the meaning for himself.

I don't believe in feeding children pure fairy tales but I also don't believe in making them swallow dry facts not suited to their age. I like to choose a theme that is realistic and appealing to a child's mentality.

When Education in Bahasa Malaysia Phonics Is Not Standardized...Yet

A reader has kindly shared a tip by starting with consonants that are easier to blend such as "s" and "l". To this I applaud as this is most helpful for very slow children. Sometimes I also start blending vowels at initial stage if the little learner is capable of picking it up soon. Anyways, whatever I have kept here are educational materials from my early teaching days more of sentimental value to me as they have at least helped my two bongok boys to become efficient readers. Mission accomplished.

More Stuff for Kiddies...

With or without reading problems, poor kids in Malaysia have to put up with school system which make them comprehend complex, abstract, bureaucratic, trivial, egoistic, totally impractical and vague issues way beyond their tender age. I try to simplify some of the subjects here:

People who Reached the Peak of Everest Forgot to Mention Who Pampered Them All the Way Up There...

Story 1-The Virgin Queen of Malay World

Story 2-Short Ghost Stories

Story 3-Blanket Octopus

Story 4-Pandora's Box

Kata Kerja

Back to top of Education in Bahasa Malaysia


Berkabung untuk MH370 & MH17